TravelDestinationsSouth America

You Can Now Sleep in This Otherworldly Landscape

A new lodge in Bolivia’s Uyuni salt flats exponentially ups the awe factor

The Kachi Lodge has a surreal resemblance to what one might imagine life on Mars would look like. (Photo: Catalina Ugalde)
The Kachi Lodge has a surreal resemblance to what one might imagine life on Mars would look like.

Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

Anyone who harbors fantasies about life on Mars should visit Kachi Lodge, a surreal colony of luxury domed pods. They’re set in Bolivia’s Uyuni salt flats, the largest on earth, which stretch for more than 4,050 square miles near the nexus of Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. At the base of the 17,000-plus-foot Tunupa volcano, the six suites and central dining and lounge dome were designed by Amazing Escapes, a Swiss company that specializes in once-in-a-lifetime outings—think sleepovers at Khmer temples in Cambodia and James Bond–themed parties in Thailand. Bolivia, long known for its soaring Andean peaks, is experiencing a cultural and culinary renaissance.

At Kachi, Amazing Escapes dialed it up to eleven, partnering with legendary La Paz restaurant Gustu to provide Bolivian-inspired meals (like llama tartare), using a self-sufficient water system powered by the sun, and displaying work by avant-garde artist Gastón Ugalde. Inside, the domes have hemp cushions and are softly lit by lanterns. Outside, excursions include mountain-biking and hiking the slopes of Tunupa. During the wet season, the lake bed fills with water, and guests can paddleboard across the flats. Meanwhile the Bolivian altiplano, one of the world’s highest plateaus, harbors fascinating archaeological history: visit the pre-Columbian site of Alcaya, or peer in on mummies in a cave above the village of Coquesa. Once you turn in, the Red Planet and southern constellations wink at you in the night sky.

(Catalina Ugalde)
(Amazing Escapes)

Access: Book with Amaszonas for the 45-minute flight down from La Paz to Uyuni. Kachi will send transport for the 60-mile drive to the lodge. Domes start at $1,980 for a two-night-­minimum stay, all-inclusive.

Weather: The dry season runs from May to November, the wet season from December to April. September generally offers blue skies and bright sun, with daytime temperatures in the low sixties. The lodge is open year-round.

Detour: Attend one of the country’s many festivals. During November’s Fiesta de las Ñatitas (“little pug-nosed ones”), some 20,000 people descend on La Paz’s main cemetery, where they parade skulls they believe will bestow blessings.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
From Outside Magazine, November 2019
Filed To: BoliviaAir TravelMountain Biking
Lead Photo: Catalina Ugalde
More Travel